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Make Your Move: Rachel Arnold

March 28, 2023

At Ascend, we strive to provide opportunities for employees to stretch their skills and advance their careers by moving among business segments, brands and teams — driving personal and team growth while creating a culture where people love what they do, take ownership and are empowered to pursue new career opportunities within the company so we “hire our own talent.”

Rachel Arnold started as a certification specialist with National Healthcare Association in 2020 and has advanced her career from an individual contributor to a managerial role. When NHA launched a strategically reorganized salesforce in 2023, her role evolved, and she made her move to become a regional partnerships manager.

Ascend Communications (AC): Tell us about your former role and how it helped prepare you to make your move.

Rachel Arnold (RA): I was a client executive for NHA, partnering with clients in New York and Florida to certify their candidates in the eight health science professions we are nationally recognized for by the NCCA [National Commission for Certifying Agencies]. The candidates would be enrolled in either a post- secondary learning program or working for an employer who requires certification or offers upskilling for their employees. In that role, I focused on revenue building for current portfolios as well as bringing in new logos [an NHA term for new business or new customers] and account management.

AC: How would you describe your former team? Any successes you’re proud of?

RA: As a client executive, my largest professional accomplishments were receiving the 100% Club and Rookie of the Year Award for 2021. This was a huge honor, and I was very proud to earn these accolades. The most rewarding part of this role was the professional partnership I developed with [NHA director of sales] @Melody Thuss, my team lead and the other members of my team at the time. I had so much respect for each of them and I was blown away by their professionalism and drive for success.

AC: Tell us about your new role.

RA: My current role at NHA is Regional Partnerships Manager [known as a sales Team Lead internally]. Prior to 2023, I had four client executives on my team that served key accounts and different states across the country. We worked together to meet their revenue goals, sharpen their consultative selling skills, create strong relationships with their customers and discover their gifts and passions so they could find additional ways to contribute to NHA.

Starting this year, my role has evolved, and I now lead the newly formed employer/healthcare focused team. We are a team of five and hope to add one more account manager. The best part is that my team and I can focus on aligning NHA’s mission in a more specialized space. We are very excited!

AC: What was the experience like making your move? Did you have any encouragement or support from your colleagues?

RA: Melody was elevated to a new position, and I realized that her role would become available. At first, I felt I was too green to be an effective leader for an NHA sales team. [Often] I felt I was just starting to understand our industry and had a great deal more to learn. However, I knew that I had the sales experience, maturity and the temperament that others would value in a leader.

Melody approached me about the position. She shared that she had always seen this being part of my succession plan at NHA. Her confidence in me and my own personal desire for growth led me to apply online. I then went through an interview with a leadership panel and then met with our vice president of sales. I was away on a work trip when HR called and offered me the position. It was an easy “yes” for me. I’m very grateful for Melody and everyone who has taught me along the way.

AC: How would you describe the dynamic of your new team?

RA: I have a team of diverse personalities and SMEs who have really energized my focus and excitement for my role in leadership. I’m grateful for my team — they’re positive, hardworking, and challenge me to be better.

AC: How would you describe the culture at Ascend?

RA: The culture at Ascend has always been one of my favorite things about my job. From day one, I felt heard, valued, and respected. I’m surrounded by people who put in their best efforts and don’t dial it in. That has pushed me to keep up. I’ve seen examples time after time of how this company has pivoted based on feedback from myself and my peers.

AC: How have our values shaped your experience at Ascend?

RA: Passion comes to mind first and is what I see on a daily basis. My team shows their passion for their clients in their strategic meetings when they help them reach their certification goals, pass rate goals, and look for ways to go above and beyond for them.

AC: Do you have any words of encouragement to others who are considering making their move?

RA: My advice would be to create a portfolio and start to build out a five-year plan for yourself. I would talk to your leadership team and ask what they look for in the role that you would like to have someday. Let your leadership team know that you have interest in having a mentor and learning more about what that person does. It is never too early to throw your hat in the ring!

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When team members move to new roles across Ascend, they grow their skills and stretch their capabilities within a company they already know, maintain their benefits and connections with colleagues, and teams gain an employee already invested in the work, mission and culture — one that can ramp up quickly and bring legacy knowledge to their new role. To learn more about career opportunities at Ascend, visit our Careers page.